Wednesday, November 02, 2016

After The War

After The War was released back in 1989 by Dinamic Software and is a beat 'em up similar in style to Double Dragon 3. You are Jonathan Rogers, aka Jungle Rogers, and must assassinate professor McJerin who is today's nutcase. Worryingly set in the near future during a post-apocalyptic Manhattan where you must kill all the bad dudes and escape to somewhere far nicer than this hellhole! Easy.

The game is split into two parts, with the first being a scrolling beat 'em up and the second and scrolling shoot 'em up. Upon playing part one, the first thing that struck me were the graphics which look amazing with huge sprites, great use of colour, and good scrolling. I adore the backgrounds and found their artwork and design to be apt for the grungy scenario. Sound effects are very cool and made up of low-quality grunts and thumps with silly cries when somebody is killed. It is worth mentioning the awesome title theme which I think is superb and I do wonder if the enhanced hardware within the STe was used? However, this only goes to highlight the lack of an in-game background tune, which is a massive shame. Controls are very easy to master and offer : a punch, a flying-kick, jumping, and a get-me-outta-here rollback. Also, the keyboard is needed to action another kick and a nut-crushing low punch, especially useful for the rapid dogs! Sadly, I found flipping between the two sets of controls an awkward killjoy, perhaps a keyboard-only option might better for some?

Part two sees our musclebound hero equipped with a giant weapon as he heads off into the underground. This an unlockable stage which you can start at any time using a code given only after completing part one. Gamestyle is now a scrolling shooter where you need to blast everything that moves, even those pesky rats. The controls are a little weird yet again, and now you must manually guide Jungle's aim and shoot anything that moves - be they at walking level, low-down rats or something freaky up high. This is a little strange, at first, and I expect many might yet again prefer the keyboard? There isn't much to this humble shooter and, if I'm honest, I didn't care much for it. Sure, it's challenging and stuffed with frantic gunplay but I feel it should instead have remained a beat 'em up throughout.

After The War is basically two separate games, one I love and one I didn't. The beat 'em up stages are incredibly enjoyable and bucket loads of ass-kicking fun, even with the dodgy controls. However, part two did little for me and I know the Atari ST has far better titles in its catalogue. Thankfully, for the beat 'em up section alone, I strongly recommend you take a few hours out of your day to play this because it's downright good ol' honest arcade action.

LINKS

 - Neither 8BitChip nor the D-Bug guys have made a version of hard drive installation. I've contacted Peter Putnik and hope he can wave his magic wand. Until then, Old Games Finder has all the floppy disk versions you will need.
 - AtariMania has After The War featured within their ST database website.
 - What a fantastic loading screen - killer artwork!!
 - Who fancies a couple of cheats? Yep, I knew you did so here they are:
          -> Fancy the code to part two : 101069 (tested and works)
          -> Infinite energy in part one, press keys : ALT, 1, B (untested)
          -> Infinite energy in part two, press keys : ALT, 1, M (untested)